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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pakistan demands end to drone strikes as a condition of renewing U.S. relations



A parliamentary committee in Pakistan's parliament has demanded an end to U.S, drone strikes as a condition for renewal of relations between the U.S. and Pakistan.

Some time ago the parliament had demanded an end to the strikes to no effect it would seem. Pakistan's parliament is discussing how to mend U.S. Pakistan relations. Relations have been particularly bad since a U.S. attack killed 24 soldiers near the Afghan border in November.

Razza Rabbani who chaired the committee making the recommendations also insisted that the U.S. should unconditionally apologize for the killings. Neither this nor the ceasing of drone attacks are likely I expect.

The U.S. seems quite willing to pay the price of having to use alternate routes as Pakistan has closed the Afghan border to supply convoys. Pakistan also forced the U.S. to close an air base in Pakistan.

Pakistan indicated recently that the issues may soon be resolved. The U.S. may pay higher transit fees for goods passing through Pakistan. On the drone issue it seems as if Pakistan might agree to the attacks if they were coordinated with the Pakistanis and they received notice of when and where they would occur. The U.S. may not be willing to grant this because militants might be notified of pending attacks. There is no trust between the two sides it seems.

A report last month by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism put the civilian death toll from the attacks at between 282 and 535. This includes 60 children. These are figures since Obama came to power. Obama has greatly increased attacks from the Bush era. For more see this article.

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